EU Finance Ministers must support taxes on banks and financial transactions

Date

06 Sep 2010

Press release

On Tuesday 7th September 2010, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will meet to attempt to agree on a common EU position on a tax on financial transactions and on bank levies.

The Europeans For Financial Reform (EFFR) call on ECOFIN to ignore a paper drafted by Algirdas Semetas, European commissioner for tax affairs, dismissing the feasibility of European Transaction tax.

“We now need a European FTT that raises money to finance progressive recovery measures and that tackles purely speculative activities” said Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

Mr. Semeta's paper - which will be tabled at the Finance Ministers meeting - rejects the adoption of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) on purely ideological grounds. Moreover, "this dogmatic approach clearly runs counter to the position adopted by the European Parliament as well as the results of other feasibility studies carried out by well-respected academics", said Philippe Lamberts, co-spokesperson of the European Green Party (EGP).  

EFFR - a coalition of progressive forces, ranging from NGOs to Trade Unions and progressive politicians - is therefore calling on the EU Finance Ministers to adopt both the FTT and bank levy, as they are closely interlinked.

 “A European, financial transaction tax (FTT) applied to all financial transactions would significantly curb speculation, and levies applied to banks would limit their excessive reliance on unstable sources of funding”, said John Monks, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

Besides their regulatory dimension, both proposed measures would ensure a fairer burden-sharing for the cost of the crisis and raise additional resources that are particularly needed in times of a global economic downturn.

“The critical question being asked is: why should ordinary people pay for a crisis that they did not cause? Alternatives exist, such as a financial-transaction tax” explained Joseph Weidenholzer, President of Solidar.

The EFFR coalition reiterates its call to European leaders to face up to this challenge by keeping their G20 promises in order to ensure that financial markets serve the interest of European citizens. 

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For further information please contact:

Brian Synnott

Media And Press Adviser

Party of European Socialists (PES)

Mobile +32 474 98 96 75

brian.synnott@pes.org

Graham Burgess

Media and Communications Officer

European Green Party

Mobile no: +32 477 902 023

graham.burgess@europeangreens.net

Daniele Melli 

Press Officer

European Trade Union confederation (ETUC)

Mobile + 32 473 94 25 63

d.melli@etuc.org